Monday, November 16, 2009

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe Special

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe did a special, which I believe is a first for the podcast (Cue television special logo from my childhood.)

All fun and light hearted commentary aside, this is a 47 minute episode that you really ought to gather the family, close friends, and loved ones around the iPod, the PC, laptop, Mac, MP3 player of your choice and have them listen to it.

The episode consists of Drs. Steven Novella, Mark Crislip, David Gorski, and Joe Albietz all of the Science Based Medicine blog discussing the H1N1 virus, concerns over the this strain of the flu, concerns over the vaccine for this virus, and concerns over vaccines in general.  None of the other rogues participated, but I believe Novella wisely used his 65,000 strong listener base to disburse clear and concise information on the topic.  The episode is a bit dry for the non-science enthusiast, but it only 45 minutes long.  A large number of people sit through far worse on network television on a daily basis, but if such logic does not prevail just play episode in a confined area such as in the family car on the trip to grandmothers house for Thanksgiving Dinner.  I am sure the relatives will love to hear the wealth of basic and sound information during the feast.  

I do not think the discussion was persuasive enough to convince a hardcore anti-vaccine advocate, or a hardcore naturopath that the H1N1 flu while nothing to be trifled with is also nothing to be in utter fear, or that the H1N1 vaccine is as safe as be expected from modern medicine.  This is not because due to poor  presentation, but some people just cannot be convinced.  However, for a person who has heard various things here on television, or there near the water cooler at work that the vaccine is more dangerous than the flu itself, or that doctors do not think it is safe, this episode is more than sufficient to convince most level headed folks to do the rational choice and get vaccinated.

The information is conveyed in an generally understood terms that is accessible to anyone who watches the History Channel or Science Channel.  So, gather everyone around the audio playing device of your choice, pretend to reenact President FDR's fireside chats, and get all that you know, who are willing, a bit of basic education on the H1N1 "swine" Flu.  

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